An Airport Layover, ITN Wedding Veils, Science Fiction in Africa

I’m so much at a loss as to what to write and this blog has sat rusting for the past couple of weeks. I was hoping some of my friends would pick up the slack, but, alas…

So, while I sit here at the Amsterdam Shiphol Airport drinking incredibly expensive but exquisite European coffee, I will inundate you with news items that have caught my attention recently.

The Malawian judiciary is on strike. Yep, the whole judicial branch as far as I know. Incredible. Imagine if the entire federal court system of the United States decided to take a break? Fortunately, US federal judges and court workers are getting paid, unlike their counterparts in Malawi. The strike is estimated to cost in the hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, money Malawi simply cannot afford to lose. Rerorts are coming out that hospital workers are starting to strike, as well.

The Africa Report is late on the game and reports that insecticide treated bed nets that were distributed for free are being used for drying fish and wedding veils. While this is old news for us in the malaria world, the article continues to fan the flames of arguments against giving free stuff to poor people. No mention of whether the nets used for drying fish acutally provide benefits to the economic profile of the community, however. Maybe they are just holding back knowing that I’m working on a paper.

The same Africa Report did manage to write a cool article on African film schools. It’s not surprising that many African countries don’t have developed national cinemas, but a sad state of affairs nonetheless. With funding from European donors, a film school has been created and scholarships offered to more than 100 potential African film makers. The positioning of the school in Nigeria is dubious, however. Nigeria is know for film, but not for the kind that draws international attention. I would love to see a new generation of film makers in the tradition of Senegalese film maker Djibril Diop Mambéty or Abderrahmane Sissako, rather than the cheap throw aways that Nollywood is famous for, but we can’t have everything, can we?

In the mean time, here’s a trailer for the Galway African Film Festival of 2011, which includes clips from Kenya’s Pumzi, what is probably Africa’s only science fiction film (besides South Africa’s District 9).

About Pete Larson

Researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. Lecturer in the University of Michigan School of Public Health and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I do epidemiology, public health, GIS, health disparities and environmental justice. I also do music and weird stuff.

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